With temperatures cooling and winter officially on the horizon, the threat of snow has been well-publicised. Thankfully, it seems North East councils are more than prepared for when the cold snap hits.
Information gathered by relocatable building manufacturer Rubb Buildings has shown that both Durham and Northumberland are well-stocked when it comes to road salt for winter 2016/17.
Behind Lincolnshire, Durham and Northumberland have the highest levels of road salt stocked by UK councils, holding 42,580 and 37,000 tonnes respectively.
This is a smart move by the councils, as our region receives some of the highest amount of sleet and snow fall days — 20 to 50 days on average per year. In 2015/2016, Durham had 42,000 tonnes of road salt available, with 31,311 tonnes used across the area’s roads. Similarly, Northumberland stocked 36,000 tonnes of road salt, spreading 20,000 over the course of the winter.
At first look, it may seem that the councils are overstocking. However, when you consider the potential implications of being underprepared, it’s clear that the authorities are wisely covering every eventuality. Take winter 2009 for example: in February, Westgate in Northumberland received 30cm of snow, while levels in Copley, Durham reached 22cm. It was a similar situation throughout the UK, with some areas receiving the highest amount of snowfall in some 18 years.
As a result of this widespread snow, resources were strained. At one point, Britain was using 25,000 tonnes of road salt a day to grit motorways and main roads. Because producers are only able to provide 30,000 tonnes in total each week, dwindling levels resulted in rationed road salt — and treacherous conditions for motorists, pedestrians and other road users.
Clearly, North East councils are savvy to the amount of snowfall we receive and have prepared accordingly. This provides peace of mind to North East residents and businesses alike, offering the reassurance that we are well-prepared to tackle the winter weather when it arrives.